Note: It's been almost two months since I've posted anything. With that said, despite the lack of Rangers news over that time span, today seemed worthy of making a post.
For the past two seasons, there has been much criticism from much of the Rangers fan base toward GM Jon Daniels for not locking in some of the high-profile free agents on the market. Those names, in some capacity, have included Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, and Carlos Beltran. I'm likely missing some names, but the point is, Daniels came under even more fire after Nolan Ryan stepped away and Daniels was an easy scapegoat.
It's not a sentiment I ever agreed with. As a matter of fact, I felt the time was right for Nolan to step away, as Daniels should be the undoubted craftsman of the franchise. For the fans that have criticized Daniels for inactivity over the last two years, he may have just redeemed himself. For those of us that have felt his approach was right all along, this trade feels like a justification of our faith in him.
Tonight, a reported trade of Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder is all but finalized, bring Fielder to Texas less than two years after many believed the franchise should have broken the bank for the left-handed slugger.
From my perspective, this trade makes sense on so many fronts. Firstly, the infield logjam always made Kinsler the most likely to be traded in my eyes. He was the oldest of the Andrus-Kinsler-Profar triumvirate, and the franchise just invested in Andrus long-term less than a year ago. Second, Kinsler has declined a bit over the past two seasons, which is to be expected of any player heading into his 30's, but especially for a middle infielder. Kinsler made it fairly clear last season that he had no interest in changing positions.
This move puts Jurickson Profar in a position to stake claim to the job at 2nd base, and should he fail, the Rangers still have top prospect Rougned Odor in the pipeline, who could be ready to contribute at the Major League level as soon as 2015. In other words, the Rangers dealt a player from a position of strength to fill a position of weakness. Fielder will provide power, the ability to play 1st base or DH, and is still only 29 years of age.
Speaking of 2015, that's when the Rangers televison contract goes into effect. So with a reported $30 million coming back from Detroit in the 1-for-1 deal, the Rangers could conceivably make another splash in the offseason. Re-sign Cruz? Shin-Soo Choo? Whatever the case may be, Jon Daniels has likely made the team stronger not only by adding a power bat that should produce at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but by spreading the available Major League talent to allow every player to have a role.
Ian Kinsler will be missed. He was a valuable player, often underrated, but in this case, Jon Daniels made a decision that wasn't based on emotion, and while it might not be popular with everyone, it solved many of the problems the Rangers faced heading into 2014 all in one move.